Tuesday, January 7, 2020 – The Church of the Audio Visuals
Just read an article saying video screens in churches should be scrapped and congregations should return to using hymnals. I so agree. Here’s what I’m thinking.
I went to midnight mass on Christmas Eve with the Catholic members of my family. Of course, midnight mass was at 4:00 in the afternoon, but I suppose it was midnight somewhere. Besides, I don’t think Jesus wore a wrist watch.
Even though I attended Sacred Heart Catholic Church when I lived there, I had never been to the new church. Upon entering the sanctuary, and after doing the required genuflecting and kneeling, I look up and see Jesus on the Cross pointing to a video screen on either side. A little too modern for the traditionalist like me, but I adjusted.
Since we arrived at 3:15 in order to obtain a seat, there was much time to look at this beautiful and modern church. Right in the middle of the sanctuary was a sky light with natural sunlight shining on something I could not make out from my vantage point. Just then I was informed that what I was looking at was the baptismal. Wait a minute! A free-standing baptismal right in the middle of the church? Even the Baptists put theirs behind the pulpit. When did the Catholics become full immersion (aka Dippers) versus not full immersion (aka Sprinklers)? And you get dipped three times? Ok – I’m ok with that, sort of. Not the way I did it, but whatever.
But then a slide show began on the video screens. There was information about upcoming events at the church, some community opportunities and then… with a bright yellow background with red lettering (good instructional design for getting attention) the following slides appeared on the two screens:
The water in the baptismal is not potable.
Please do not drink the baptismal water!
Then the instructions were in Spanish.
I have questions.
- Is the entire baptismal filled with holy water? I have seen hot tubs smaller than this and was just wondering.
- Is the water not potable because the baptismal is under the skylight making it prone to green stuff growing?
- How does one get in it? I mean the sides were about four feet high. More importantly, how does one get out? Perhaps, there are steps beyond my vision point.
- If one is old enough to read the slide about not drinking the water, isn’t he or she old enough to understand not to drink from the baptismal?
- Shouldn’t not drinking from the baptismal be covered in catechism? Part of the church visitation and tour during mine covered many do’s and don’ts concerning the holy water. These including, but not limited to, if a burn appears on your forehead when making the sign of the cross, please exit at the nearest exit immediately.
- Do those of Protestant denominations who believe in full immersion have such a sign in their sanctuaries?
About that time the service began, and everything flashed upon the video screens – the songs, the readings, the responses, and even the transubstantiation part. Nope! Bring in the camel and the straw.
Here’s what I’m thinking. The role of the hymnal is to sing praises when looking ahead. The role of the hymnal when reading the scriptures and saying the prayers is to bow your head. Bring the hymnal back!